In March 2009 my closest friend in Melbourne, a single Mum, gave birth to her first baby at the age of 42. The baby (Luca) was delivered at 24 weeks. If you look closely at this picture, you can see the reality of the journey that a 24 week old baby was to face. Check out the size of his hand on his Mum’s finger. Luca was not expected to live past 25 weeks so everyone prepared for the finality of this little man’s life. The priest was brought in, the family visited and said their farewells and the emotional support crew gathered round and feigned their strength in front of his mum. It was a sickening feeling. Usually I find a reason in any situation to laugh, but in this situation I honestly found no reason at all to be able to conjure up a smile let alone a laugh. Whilst this was all happening, the new born across from Luca passed away in her humidicrib. Suddenly there was an empty crib, no baby, no parents, no round the clock nurse- just a memory. I felt a sort of guilt having my reasonably healthy 3 year old coming to visit in an environment that teetered on life or death at any second of each 24 hour cycle. The days went on and with each day there was a new challenge, a new infection, a new blockage, a new operation to be had and so many tears. The one positive thing was that it was 2 steps forward for every 1 step back. Luca reached such milestones that you and I would not even think of; he reached 1 kilo; he did 1 poo; he took 1 ml of milk; he reached 100 days; it was a series of amazing accomplishments entwined with a bunch of devastating downfalls but, Luca kept on going. Luca’s Mum was in the hospital every day for at least 15 hours, she often stayed overnight just to be there. That ‘normal life’ stopped for Luca’s mum for 3 long months. Eventually in June 2009 as he was about to hit 3kilos, Luca was able to leave the hospital and go home with oxygen in tow. There was a positive future ahead.
Luca is now a happy, gurgling, farting, belching, vomiting, pooeing, weeing, screaming and simply gorgeous baby with only minor disabilities such as deafness and respiratory problems. I say minor, because hey, he really could have simply been an angel in our lives.
This is where my own human psyche amazes me. From that very first time I saw Luca in his frail body, I knew that if I could play any role in helping sick kids, then my hand would be raised with no questions asked. If there was an opportunity, I would grab it.
At White Now headquarters, we are busy, working away on the next stages of the Read & Recover Program. With the ante being upped By Brad Sugars from 150 books to 1500 the work had to be upped as well. We are actually donating 1600 books to 100 hospitals now ! During the week, we were honoured to have a large club approach us wanting to assist in this year’s book donation initiative. We are now in discussion with them to see how they can best assist. Our Graphic Designer, who is 4 months pregnant, donated all the design work needed for the program. We also have had so many people contact us either through our Facebook pages, or this blog offering their help! Why do they contact us ? They simply just want to help.
I think that there is something truly humbling about being able to help others but, as a parent, there is something so phenomenal about helping kids – especially those who are have any sort of illness.
My heart goes out to all of those parents who have sick children or children with any challenge. It is said that having a child is to decide to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body. Imagine if that heart were challenged with illnesses continually.